Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 27th November 2019
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has called for “real action” to be taken by whoever wins the upcoming General Election to address the state of road and rail networks across the UK.
According to research among BCC members, only around a third of businesses feel the country’s road networks are fit for purpose, with 60 per cent saying that delays on British roads have cost them money or a degree of client satisfaction within a month of their being asked.
Meanwhile, less than a quarter (24 per cent) of the individual business owners asked by the BCC said that they viewed the country’s rail networks as meeting their needs from an enterprise perspective.
Partly as a result of these findings, the BCC says that it wants to see more serious action taken by the government to address issues affecting transport infrastructure nationwide.
Most businesses suggested when asked that they don’t currently feel accounted for or listened to in the context of conversations around public infrastructure investments.
“This election has generated a barrage of promises on infrastructure spending, but unless we see real action in the early months of the new parliament, our hard-pressed firms will struggle to deliver the economic resurgence we desperately need,” commented BCC co-executive director Claire Walker.
“Upgrading our road and rail capacity would send a vital signal that businesses are finally being heard, would kick-start business investment across the country and will pay dividends long into the future,” she said.
Martin Griffiths, chief executive of the transport company Stagecoach, responded to the BCC’s research by suggesting it underlines just how urgently aspects of the UK’s transport infrastructure need investing in and upgrading.
“This research underlines a growing frustration that, despite transport authorities having powers right now to improve our road infrastructure, there is a lack of radical action to address the problem,” Mr Griffiths said.
“If we are serious about supporting jobs and our regional economies, as well delivering cleaner air and healthier communities, we need urgent measures to prioritise public transport and incentivise a large-scale switch from cars to more sustainable bus and active travel,” he added.